An invisible disconnection

“Most people who struggle with chronic emptiness had adults in their life who were incapable of giving them emotional intimacy. As a result, their inner world did not feel seen, heard, felt, understood or validated. Not only did this wound them, it made them subconsciously conclude that there must be either something bad there or nothing there at all.

Emotional neglect is the cause of the inner void. When an adult does not understand what emotional needs are or how to meet them, they cannot meet the child’s emotional needs. The adult is essentially unintentionally invalidating the importance of their child in their life. This child does not feel seen, heard or felt. There is no intimacy in the relationship and so this child lacks the knowledge about how to form intimate relationships.

When a child is shamed for having emotional needs and wanting to have them met by the parent, the message the child receives is, “There is something fundamentally wrong and unlovable about me”. This child grows up being completely blind to his or her own emotional needs as well as being very afraid of his or her own emotions.

Most people who suffered emotional neglect, either keep their suffering entirely to themselves or go from psychiatrist to psychologist trying desperately to figure out what is so wrong with them.

Most are drowning in a sea of self-condemnation because they can’t see what it is that caused them to feel the way they feel. This is because emotional neglect is not what you see. It is what you don’t see. It is the encouragement that didn’t happen. It is the comforting that wasn’t given. It is the loving support that wasn’t offered. It is the loving words that were not said. It is the sense of belonging that was never granted. It is the understanding that was never reached for. Emotional neglect is so hard to recognize because you can’t see what isn’t there and so you can’t remember what isn’t there and until you see what could have been there, you won’t even know something was missing.

Emotional neglect often goes hand in hand with an unhealthy style of availability in parenting, which leads to insecure attachments in adults. If you were talking to a psychologist they would say that instead of developing a secure attachment, a child who experiences emotional neglect often develops either an anxious preoccupied attachment or a dismissive avoidant attachment.”

– Teal Swan, My Raw Yet Pristine Paragon

Moving on like clouds

My truth is inevitable. I’ve tried to mute it, make it so that I’m not accused of being a disrespectful daughter. Caasi. But now I see, after a lifetime of heavy sacrifices and trying my best to keep you happy to no avail, I see that whatever you’re battling it aint my fight. If I’m such an atrocity, a disappointment, then sign me off as a misfortune to just accept in dejection. Like a hurricane that destroys everything. What will you do? Fight the hurricane? You know you can’t so you just take a deep breath of the debris and gather your belongings. Consider me the same and be well with your life.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t what y’all were expecting. I came in with a fiery spirit and I’ve been snuffing it out all my life. It’s no coincidence that I’ve been depressed since I was 8. Even before the breakdown I had when I was 16. That was just the eruption of a volcano that had been active for quite a while. All I remember after the age of 6 is grey skies. Grey clouds, fog, chilly October weather, wet socks, cold hands, brutal wind, muddy puddles.I did that for you, to not inconvenience you and not only did my well-being or rather the lack thereof go by unnoticed, uncared for, but I was punished and shamed for not amounting to the insane standards cooked up totally detached from empathy or love. As if raising kids was like running a sweatshop. Churning out results and keeping things aligned with your vision trumped the emotional and mental needs I had. Somehow, becoming what you wanted me to become would fulfill me?

I can’t understand it, and I’ve spent too long trying to. I realize it was all lies. Self-deception you tried to force on me. And I ran with it, eager to amount to anything worthy of love in your eyes, but instead it ran me into the ground. Like concrete. But hey, I bloomed through that hard surface, gentle and vulnerable. Like the poem Tupac wrote, the rose that grew from concrete.

quit playing games with my heart

“There is an emotional promiscuity we’ve noticed among many good young men and women. The young man understands something of the journey of the heart. He wants to talk, to “share the journey.” The woman is grateful to be pursued, she opens up. They share the intimacies of their lives – their wounds, their walks with God. But he never commits. He enjoys her… then leaves. And she wonders, What did I do wrong? She failed to see his passivity. He really did not ever commit or offer assurances that he would. 

— Stasi Eldredge

Emotional orphan

I was emotionally orphaned.

My mum told me that I was a very fussy baby who’d cry nonstop. So she made sure I was fed and clean – physically cared for – and just leave me be when I cry ‘for no apparent reason’. I believe we are all born with fully formed souls and personalities and we spend life learning to accept ourselves. I think that first year when my body was cared for but my mind ignored, something within me broke. Shattered to smithereens. Because when I turned one, I changed drastically. I became reticent and quiet. Still. If I were told to sit down, I’d sit there for hours until told to get up. That’s not normal for a one year old is it? I don’t think so.

My dad was much more compassionate than mum. He was a doting father who wouldn’t let me cry. He observed my every move to try to decipher my language. He even kept a shorthand notebook for my baby babble and he’d be my translator of sorts. They really tried, my parents. I was a very sensitive and old soul and they had to improvise because I wasn’t like normal infants. I was even scared of the dark! I was merely a couple of months and I’d freak if the lights were turned off. 😀

I was 1 year and 8 months when my twin brothers were born. It threw everyone off course, because they were unplanned. Not only that, but mum almost died giving birth via c-section. She spent the first 6 months or so in and out of hospital. My dad had to work. We lived in a small southern town of Sweden where we didn’t have any relatives to help out. It was hard. I think the sudden change of dynamics where I was pushed off the only child seat and relegated to the background in the face of the clamour and mum’s illness, affected me very deeply.

One day I blurted out something that couldn’t have belonged to my mind and be spoken by my tongue. I wasn’t even 2 years yet, when I addressed my parents and a family friend who were in our midst;
‘ hooyo mid, aabe mid, aniga baabah’. Which is Somali for ‘ mum one, dad one, me nothing ‘, pointing out that my parents’ hands were occupied with both my infant twin brothers and I was left alone.
Heart wrenching and mind-boggling as it was, the family friend was utterly devastated and scooped me up immediately, sobbing at my words that I was too young for.

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